Listeners will hear John Dennis again on WEEI. Whether it’s on the program that carries his name is another matter.
Dennis, who along with Gerry Callahan has cohosted the successful morning-drive “Dennis and Callahan” program since 1997, has had a deteriorating relationship with his colleagues, in particular Kirk Minihane, who joined the show as a third host in 2013 and immediately became a compelling voice in the market.
That contentiousness culminated over the last couple of days, apparently to the breaking point. According to multiple sources, Dennis told WEEI management Thursday night that he intended to quit.
Entercom Boston vice president/market manager Phil Zachary, who met with Dennis Friday afternoon, denied that the host, whose contract is up in 13 months, will leave the station immediately.
“Dino has his predilections, and one is a propensity for routinely pushing up his retirement date,’’ Zachary wrote in an e-mail Friday. “Our plan is to keep him on the WEEI team until at least September 2017. He and I spoke at length today about a number of priorities for the next few months, and Dino’s very much on board.”
But two sources said that it’s unlikely that Dennis returns to the D&C program when he returns in two weeks from what Zachary said is his last vacation time of the year.
Both sources said that WEEI does not want to acknowledge Dennis’s status primarily because they intend to keep using his voice in advertisements for a client for whom he is a spokesperson.
Another source said that WEEI does not intend to change the name of the Dennis and Callahan show — which currently “features” Minihane — until after Labor Day, even if Dennis is no longer part of it.
Dennis returned a message Saturday morning, but chose not to comment, saying the situation “is still fluid.”
The tipping point in the longstanding tension came Thursday night.
Dennis, an aggressively prolific tweeter, responded to negative comments from his followers about Minihane’s pending return from vacation, suggesting that he was ready to confront his cohost Friday morning.
When Dennis didn’t come in Friday morning, Minihane hammered Dennis on the program and Twitter for his absence.
Sometimes the Dennis and Callahan show exaggerates its interoffice feuds for effect and entertainment; it’s a time-tested standard from the Howard Stern playbook.
But the issues between the D&C cohosts are genuine — while Callahan and Minihane are friends, they barely interact with Dennis during commercial breaks.
Now, it would be a major surprise if the three hosts ever interact as on-air colleagues again.